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Tone up for Your Bike Tour

The good folks at Bike Tour Buzz, an independent resource that provides Travel Reviews, recommendations and other resources on cycling vacations, lent us this great guide to toning up for your first bike tour.

Italy Bike Tour

When you’re preparing for your first bike tour, it’s important to start slow. Ease yourself into training so you’ll stick with the routine and build your fitness levels steadily. And remember, when you Travel with VBT, our support van is always there if you need to rest your legs.

Before You Begin:

Make sure your frame, handlebars, saddle, and pedals are all correctly fitted. Your personal measurements and riding style (in this case, long distance cycling) will determine how it needs to be fitted, so talk to an expert about adjusting your bike.  Our suggestion is to go to your local bike shop.

Week One:

During your first week, you’ll want to cycle a comfortable distance. Once you’ve achieved a base level of fitness that allows you to cycle without muscle soreness or fatigue, start incorporating resistance to your rides once or twice a week by increasing your distance by no more than 10% each week or incorporating hillier, more difficult terrain. As always, consult your doctor before you begin if you have any health problems or are not accustomed to exercise, and remember to enjoy yourself!

As you build up, make sure you do recovery ride after big rides.  These help clear waste products from your legs.  For a recovery ride, we recommend 30-45 minutes with low resistance, 90 to 100 RPMs, and staying about 50 – 70% of your threshold.

Bike Tour Italy

Following Weeks:

When you’re comfortable again, add one or two long endurance rides a week. Remember not to over train, and give your body a rest when it needs it. Research the specifics of your bike tour so you’ll know how long you’ll be riding on average each day; the best indicator that you’re ready for your tour will be when you can comfortably ride two-thirds of your expected daily tour mileage over similar terrain.

Another suggestion is to do some indoor cycling, which really helps to build your interval capacity and strengthen out your legs.  It’s a bit different from riding outside, but similar enough so that you will see significant benefits from a steady spin schedule.  Indoor cycling coaches are also an excellent source of advice.

For more on toning up, check out Bike Tour Buzz.

Our Travelers Top 5 Highest-Rated Vacations

Travel Reviews from fellow explorers can often be the very best resource in determining your next adventure. And submitting your own Traveler Reviews can be a great way to recount your favorite experiences. With that in mind, we’ve put together a collection of Our Travelers’ Top 5 Highest-Rated Vacations and we’ve even included what some of our travelers had to say about their Vacations with VBT.

Puglia: Italy’s Undiscovered Coast
Rated 4.94 out of 5 on our Traveler Reviews of Puglia

Travel Reviews of Puglia, Traveler Reviews of Puglia

At the heel of Italy’s boot, we cycle through centuries-old fortified villages, recharge at Southern Italy’s famed accommodations and even explore a village dotted with conical houses called trulli. And, of course, our daily rides will be highlighted by local Italian cuisine, especially on day 5 when we visit our local friends, Armando RosalbaIa, at Il Frantoio for a home-hosted lunch. Explore this captivating, hidden corner of Italy with VBT!

If you’re into beautiful scenery, miles of quiet country roads with almost no traffic, outstanding food, and great Masserie and hotels, this trip is for you. Everything about our trip was top of the line except the price, which provided more bang for the buck than anyone else.
Ben Z.

Croatia: The Dalmatian Islands
Rated 4.94 out of 5 on our Traveler Reviews of Croatia

Travel Reviews of Croatia, Traveler Reviews of Croatia

Join VBT in Croatia where we cycle Brac and Hvar— rated by Condé Nast as one of the world’s ten most beautiful islands. We’ll also explore stone-carved, limestone villages and ride past olive groves, poppy fields and a rugged Adriatic coast. We’ll also have the opportunity to see stonecutters at work when we visit one of the world’s last stonecutting schools on the fourth day of our Croatia vacation.

Croatia is a jewel of a country. It is one of the most beautiful and friendly countries I have visited… The trip leaders were very special people… the food was outstanding… and swimming in the Adriatic was pristine.
Cindy P.

Tuscany by the Sea
Rated 4.91 out of 5 on our Traveler Reviews of Tuscany

Travel Reviews of Tuscany, Traveler Reviews of Tuscany

In the untouched Maremma region, ancient Etruscan roads lead to white-sand beaches, protected wetlands teeming with birdlife and ancient castles overlooking timeless villages. We drink it all in as we cycle through magnificent coastal vistas, pedal past fertile vineyards and sample the bounty of the land at a tasting at an olive oil mill. Join us and experience it all for yourself!

The tour guides were wonderful… each hotel was charming and special in its own way. The option of taking the van at any point is nice, since I’m not an avid bicyclist, but I was surprised how many miles I was willing/able to pedal… perhaps because of the comfort of the bicycles! The daily routes appear to be hand-picked… In terms of value, it was worth every penny. I’m going on and on, and I haven’t even mentioned the wonderful food and wine yet!
James H.

The Czech Republic, Germany & Austria​
Rated 4.92 out of 5 on our Traveler Reviews of the Czech Republic, Germany & Austria

Travel Reviews of Czech Republic, Traveler Reviews of Czech Republic

Central Europe beckons on a charming itinerary that blends historic small cities with the wonders of nature. Traveling by train, boat and bicycle, you’ll wend your way to the gems of the Czech Republic, Germany and Austria and we’ll get in touch with locals when we join a Czech family for lunch in their home on this incredible VBT Vacation.

We discovered the charm and beauty of Prague – along with some of the world’s best beer! Our experiences during the biking days were equally exciting. The variety of environments – river valleys, historical sites, beautiful small cities and towns, forests, charming rural scenes – was far beyond our expectations.
Dan R.

Walking the Amalfi Coast & Capri
Rated 4.96 out of 5 on our Traveler Reviews of the Amalfi Coast

Travel Reviews of Amalfi, Traveler Reviews of Amalfi

On this Southern Italian vacation we’ll walk along hillsides that wind with the coast. We’ll get a sense of the culture and history of Southern Italy through pasta and paper-making demonstrations. And we’ve saved the best almost for last, as our walk along the “Path of the Gods” provides views fit for divinity. Explore the south of Italy with VBT at a pace that works for you.

The Amalfi Coast and Capri is a walking tour of a lifetime. I enjoyed the villages, the scenery, our walking group and especially our guides. As we traveled from one village to another we could absorb ourselves in the Italian food, majestic scenery, and people. I would recommend to everyone, get your walking shoes on and enjoy the journey.
Collette M.

Did your favorite make the list? Submit your own Traveler Review on our website.